An Aldington resident is urging the public to take extra care after an explosion during Storm Eunice caused devastation at her home this weekend. 

When June Ferretti from Aldington went to stay with a family during Storm Eunice due to a power cut, thoughts of the potential damage she might find when she got home were racing through her mind.

But the reality of the devastation she discovered when she returned was beyond anything she had imagined – there had been an explosion in her property in Bank Road.

June's living room window
Photos of the aftermath: KFRS

The 84-year-old had tried to use her kitchen hob on Saturday (19 February), before realising there was a power cut. So, remembering she had an old small butane powered camping stove in the garage, June used the canister to make refreshments in the kitchen before placing the item back on the hob and leaving home to stay with loved ones.

That afternoon her neighbour let her know the power was back on, and that she could return home. But this was shortly followed by another message, informing her there had been an explosion.

June's kitchen window
Photos of the aftermath: KFRS

June said: “When I’d left the house, I’d forgotten that the hob was still switched on from when I’d initially tried to use it during the power cut.

“So when the power came back on, the hob began to heat up – causing the gas canister to explode. It was such a small and simple mistake, with such a horrendous outcome. The windows have completely smashed through, and the blast has caused huge cracks and structural damage throughout the property that may not ever be fixed.

Kitchen hob exploded
Photos of the aftermath: KFRS

“When I put the camping stove on the hob, I thought it would be safe there because it’s out of the way – I just didn’t think the hob would come on because the electrics were off, and you can’t see things clearly when you’re in that situation.

June's kitchen window
Photos of the aftermath: KFRS

“I just can’t believe that in a matter of minutes, this small canister caused so much damage. Every single room has got cracks around the ceiling.

The gas canister

“My advice to others is to just never do what I did – always keep the hob clear, and check it’s off when you aren’t using it.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) sent two fire engines and a height vehicle to the scene. June said of the response: “After calling 999 and the crews were just superb – they really looked after me, and made sure I was alright before checking everything.”

KFRS response to Storm Eunice

As well as responding to June’s storm related incident, KFRS firefighters are continuing to support people across Kent and Medway who have been impacted by the severe weather over the weekend.

Since Friday, KFRS’ control room has received almost 500 weather-related 999 calls linked to Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin – more than 230 of which have been deemed a risk to life and have required emergency assistance.

Firefighters have been responding to incidents such as trees falling onto properties, unsafe structures, loose debris and partial building collapses across the county, including Maidstone, Ashford, Medway, Dartford, Tonbridge and Folkestone.

Leanne McMahon, KFRS Area Manager of Customer and Building Safety said: “Although the high winds are expected to subside this week, a yellow weather warning remains in place today (21 February), we would like to remind everyone to take care, to follow guidance provided by the Met Office and to consider your call before dialling 999 for the fire service – if there is a threat to life or property call 999.”

You can keep yourself and others safe by:

  • Familiarising yourself with the relevant services you might need. If there is an immediate risk to life, always call 999. 
  • Always follow the relevant advice as issued by key agencies, including the Met Office.
  • If you do need to go out, carefully consider your travel plans, and drive appropriately to suit the weather conditions. Keep yourself and others safe by driving responsibly. 
  • If you have vulnerable neighbours or loved ones, check-in on them and make sure they’re safe.
  • If you are experiencing a power cut, contact UK Power Networks for assistance by dialling 105 for their free helpline. 

By Ed

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